Every year, at the behest of benefits agencies, a large group of people start on a reintegration path.
However, Karin Faber has discovered that the current reintegration plans do not work optimally.
She concludes that the reintegration plan is an order where the rights and obligations of those entitled to benefit and of benefit agencies are seldom set out.
A contract would provide both parties with more clarity and could prevent uncertainty, confusion and law suits.
Faber will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on 24 September.
Faber’s PhD research has revealed that benefits agencies and those entitled to benefit in practice do not know exactly what they can expect of each other.
‘That creates an uncertain situation for the person entitled to benefit, who can have a sanction imposed on him or her,’ says Faber.
‘Because benefits agencies have the plan signed for approval, the person entitled to benefit is under the impression that he can help decide about the reintegration path to be followed, whereas in reality that is rarely the case.
That is rather misleading, and leads to confusion and law suits.
The legislator actually means that the plan is signed as having been seen, not for approval.’
The effect of reintegration plans is also hindered by the framework agreements that benefits agencies and reintegration companies make with each other.
This often prevents an individual being offered a tailor-made path.
‘Clients are less negative about the use of standard packages than the implementing bodies and reintegration companies,’ says Faber.
‘The majority think that the path dovetails with their personal situation, whereas the organizations think that the goal is often set too high.’
Despite the plan being signed, the implementation organs do not feel obliged to satisfy their obligations.
Faber’s thesis recommends that in future, the rights and obligations should be set out in a contract rather than in an order.
‘That would oblige the parties to make the rights and obligations explicit.
In addition, the person entitled to benefit could then demand that the benefits agency fulfils its side of the agreement.’
Consensus among the parties is needed for a contract, explains Faber.
‘And the research has revealed that people are more motivated if they play a part in decisions about the reintegration path and if their qualities are taken into account. How involved the client is has a great effect on finding work.
Motivation is a major determining factor in the success or failure of a reintegration path.’
Faber states that agreeing and recording the rights and obligations in a contract not only improves the legal position of the person entitled to benefit.
‘Drawing up a contract is interesting for benefits agencies because it means that more people will succeed in finding work.
Municipalities have a financial interest in that as they are judged by the number of successful reintegration paths.’
Karin Faber (Sneek, 1978) studied Law at the University of Groningen.
Her PhD research, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, was conducted at the department of Administrative Law and Public Administration of the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen.
Her supervisor was Prof. M. Herweijer.
The title of her thesis is
‘Re-integratie volgens plan’ [Reintegration according to plan].
Faber is currently an administrative lawyer with Dommerholt Advocaten.
Karin Faber, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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